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MECHTRONIK offers coolant system maintenance

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article image Coolant system maintenance for heavy equipment fleet operators

MECHTRONIK  is offering coolant system maintenance to heavy equipment fleet operators. Lack of proper coolant system maintenance is the biggest killer of engines according to David Armstrong, CEO of MECHRONIK. 

Coolant system maintenance is just as important as engine oil and air filter maintenance and the cost of not getting it right can be enormous. Even some of the major earthmoving equipment dealers don’t have a maintenance plan in place. Referring to major service records, the coolant level was probably checked and the filter changed, but what was the glycol and/or nitrate % and what parameters were used to adjust the levels. Also is the right coolant for this machine being used? When plain water is used as a coolant, liners can be penetrated in a matter of 500 hours of operation.

Incorrect plumbing of the cooling system can cause local hot spots or local low pressure areas near the liners making them more susceptible to liner pitting. Air leaks in the cooling system can cause local hot spots because of the insulating properties of air. Additionally, when air is present in the coolant, more oxygen is available to accelerate corrosion in general. Review oil analysis records for traces of potassium which indicate leakage of coolant into the oil. 

High concentrations of nitrite are aggressive against the solder in the radiator. Inhibitors also rely on large amounts of silicate to protect against aluminium corrosion. Overdosing can cause silica gel to form, a "green goo" that plugs coolant passages.

There is frequent confusion regarding the initial charge of a cooling system versus the service dose. The required recharge dose is three to four times the amount added at the service interval and if maintenance personnel do not understand the need to precharge, the coolant concentration is never sufficient to protect the cooling system.

The issue of precharging is further complicated because to do it right, cooling system capacity must be known — information that is not always readily available. The problem only gets worse in construction/mining fleets where cooling system capacities can vary from 20 to over 400litres. Coolant leakage can lead to major problems, in particular incorrect topping up practices. E.g. using plain water only. This practice will lead to dilution of the coolant. Today’s modern diesel engines require 40% to 60% glycol as well as a heavy duty SCA.

MECHTRONIK engineers can look at equipment and report on each unit's overall cooling system condition and recommend or undertake the necessary repairs. Also, MECHTRONIK engineers can look at the coolant maintenance systems and make recommendations for ongoing management.

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